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Defender Joe Bennett has tonight joined Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee after agreeing a four–year contract with the Premier League club.
England U-21 international Bennett, 22, was given his first team debut away to West Ham in the final game of the 2008-09 season and went on to make a total of 84 starts and eight substitute appearances for Boro, scoring one goal.
Although born and brought up in Rochdale, Bennett moved to Teesside while at school and after progressing through the club’s Academy, signed his first professional contract with the club in summer 2008.
Bennett struggled for opportunities at first team level under previous manager Gordon Strachan but returned to the team as left-back soon after Tony Mowbray's appointment as manager.
He became a first team regular and was called into the England U-21 squad. He signed a new four-and-a-half year contract in January 2011.
“I’m very grateful to the Middlesbrough chairman, Mr Gibson, all of the Middlesbrough staff and fans and, particularly, Tony Mowbray for giving me the opportunity to prove my ability,” said Bennett after putting pen to paper.
“I will never forget my time there and I wish them every success with their promotion push.”
Bennett is hoping to make his debut for his new club back in the North East when Villa take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
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